Radio propagation and space weather course

As the propagation columnist for several amateur radio magazines, I hear from a diverse group of interested people that find space weather and the propagation of radio waves fascinating. I admit: I am a space weather and radio propagation nut, and it is always good to correspond or meet with other interested folks. This is an aspect of our hobby that never grows old, as there is so much that we don’t yet know–we communicators are in a perfect space to make discovery and to make improvements to our understanding of this science.  Over the years, I’ve heard a lot from readers of my columns, expressing their fascination with the science of radio and solar phenomenon.

Are you interested in learning about the Sun and the Sun-Earth connection (space weather), including topics of sunspots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and so on?  Do you want to delve deeper into topics including the ionosphere, the magnetosphere, and how radio waves propagate from transmitter to receiver?

foF2 Map for June 2014

The critical frequency (foF2) for mornings during June 2014.

You might consider a time-proven “course”–material that is very comprehensive–that you can self-study, to become well-versed in this information. The course (one that has been used in professional disciplines) is offered either stand-alone, or bundled with the ray-tracing PropLab PRO software. 

Some may say, “But, I like the magic of just getting on the air and trying my luck! If I learn all this stuff, then it becomes science, and not a hobby.” It is true that there’s a joy at being dazzled with the magic of radio; buy a super cool transceiver, and a factory-made antenna with coax already fitted with connectors, adding the necessary accessories to make it come alive, then begin exploring the shortwave frequencies. Magical, indeed! But, there are many in the hobby that wish to learn how all of that works. Some even begin learning how to build antennas, radio kits, and discover the joy of the “science” of radio. A few eventually take the step with gained “scientific” knowledge of electronics, and they design and build equipment for their hobby. The course is part of that mix: learning how the Sun affects getting a radio signal from point A to point B, and how to leverage their time and efforts, is a joy, indeed.

Interested?  Here’s the web page: http://hfradio.org/swp_course/

 

Ray Traced Radio Wave

PropLab PRO creates ray-traced radio wave analysis

 

If any disclosure is necessary, here you go: The proceeds from a purchase of this course go to the funds I use to keep cw.HFRadio.org, swl.HFRadio.org, and other resources at HFRadio.org, plus http://SunSpotWatch.com up and running. There are monthly fees, yearly fees, and software licensing to cover, as well as the purchase of hardware from time to time. These operating and maintenance funds are mostly covered by me, Tomas, NW7US, out of my personal funds. Any donations and sales helps out. Haters and Hecklers can send their comments to the bit bucket.

73 de NW7US

Tomas Hood, NW7US, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Nebraska, USA. Tomas is the Space Weather and Radio Propagation Contributing Editor to 'CQ Amateur Radio Magazine', 'The Spectrum Monitor', and 'RadioUser UK Magazine'.

5 Responses to “Radio propagation and space weather course”

  • Matt W1MST:

    That does look very interesting, Tomas. Tell us more about how you developed the course? You certainly have a lot of experience in this area.

  • Matt: The course is the result of the efforts of Cary Oler of the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch (STD), a world-leader in space weather forecasting services, as was demonstrated in late October and early November 2003 (Oler, C., “Prediction Performance of Space Weather Forecast Centers during the Extreme Space Weather Events of October and November 2003,” published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal “Space Weather” by the American Geophysical Union in 2004). The course has been used by a wide variety of users, including military. This is detailed on the web page that I link to. There’s a lot more info there.

  • Claudia w7omm:

    Hi Tomas,
    Does the software work on Windows 7? The site only indicates Windows XP and Vista. Thanks!

  • The course itself is comprised of a set of Adobe PDF files. By software, I am assuming you are referring to the PropLab PRO software. That software is not officially supported, and was not designed for 64-bit operating systems. That said, I am running PropLab PRO on a 64-bit Windows 7 installation. I have not had an issue, though I cannot say one won’t occur. There are a set of detailed instructions sent with the installation package, that if followed, should result in a working configuration. Again, buyer beware; there is no guarantee that PropLab PRO will run on your computer. The Course, however, is cross-platform, since it is encoded in PDF format.

    73 de NW7US

  • Claudia w7omm:

    Hi Tomas,
    That answered my question – thank you!

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